It’s been quite some time since I’ve written here. And during that time, I have gone through quite a few changes. To boot, they include:
Graduating law school and taking the NY Bar Exam
Relaxing my food rules
Resurfacing vitiligo on my neck
Starting a new career path
My vitiligo began to return around this time last year. At that point in time, my diet was as “clean” as could be. Completely vegan, very little (if any) grains or nuts, and nothing that couldn’t be made in my own kitchen. Nevertheless, my skin was getting worse. As a result, I began to cut more and more out of my diet. Meanwhile, I hadn’t gotten a period for about 6 months, I was getting colds for the first time in years, and I generally felt very low in energy.
The solution to getting my period back was simple – I needed to eat what I felt like eating. This didn’t necessarily mean I had to stop being vegan, but it meant that I needed to get rid of rigid rules. I learned that eating cleanly was a way for me to feel in control of one aspect of my life. Even though I was unsure about my career and my personal life, I knew how to eat properly, and that gave me a sense of false security. As a result, the thought of eating something that wasn’t on my list of approved foods would cause mental havoc. Now, if there is nothing around for me to eat other than French fries and I’m starving, I will eat the French fries and I won’t kill myself over it. Instead, I will meditate afterwards, take a deep breath, and trust that my body will be able to balance itself out when I feed it nourishing greens the next day.
I’ve slowly learned that emotional well-being is as important, if not more important, than food. For me, this meant taking a step back from writing in legallyvegan (because writing about food only fueled my rigid food rules). It also meant I needed to stop trying to force myself to fit into the world of big law and pursue my real dream of working as a public interest lawyer (I will begin a new job as a public defender in the fall!) I began meditating daily. I traveled to Austria, Ireland, Morocco, and Costa Rica, and learned to let go of the various expectations I had set for myself in health, love, and my career.
If I’m being truly honest with my readers, I have not entirely stayed true to being vegan. I have eaten eggs three times within the past 5 months. I hate to admit this because I still advocate veganism. It is the moral choice. If we can avoid causing suffering to animals, we should. Even if we are “meant” to eat meat, we are also “meant” to live in caves, to walk around naked, etc., yet we don’t do any of these things. If we can practice compassion, we should. So in making this confession, I do not do so to say that you should stop being vegan. If you can be vegan, you should be. I admit weakness here, and I am still attempting to resolve the cognitive dissonance between my actions and beliefs.
For those of you who have emailed, I apologize for not being more responsive. The truth is I didn’t feel right giving advice about food when I was still figuring things out on my own. I debated canceling my blog altogether, and also debated turning it into a “mostly vegan” blog, and have decided against both. Ultimately, my blog has been about using food to enhance health. However, I’ve since learned that health is about so much more than food – it’s about being in touch with all our physical, mental, and- if you’re into it- spiritual selves. So I plan to write about health in all its aspects – not just food – and I invite my readers to focus on health in this holistic manner as well. I will be writing on meditation, food, sleep, and everything else that plays a role in health.
Thank you to those who have continued to follow and read, despite my inactivity I truly appreciate your comments!.<3
Happy Holidays everyone! The coming of the New Year presents a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we can improve for the next time around. I’m sure we’re all hoping to be fitter, smarter, more productive, etc., but at the core of every goal comes one key element: balance. Without a sense of grounding and self-care, the rest of our goals go straight out the window. So rather than develop some grandiose resolutions for the New Year, why not work towards this one goal? Here are the steps that will help you to stay grounded in 2013.
Eat the Right Foods
Obviously now (holiday season) is not the time to advise shunning every treat that comes your way—we all know that is just not realistic. But it is important to recognize the strong link between the foods we eat and the way we feel. When feeling depressed, for example it’s best to avoid alcohol and too much sugar and instead opt for foods containing fatty acids (chia seeds, flaxseeds) and b-vitamins (nutritional yeast), as they help with mental functioning. Additionally root vegetables like sweet potatoes and squash are a great source of serotonin, which helps to counter mental imbalance.
Spend Time Outside
Several studies reveal the benefits of soaking up rays of sunshine. Not only does sun exposure provide immunity-boosting vitamin d, but it also helps alleviate feelings of depression. So whenever you feel bogged down, take some time to enjoy the great outdoors and remember that the world is much bigger than the problems we face on a day-to-day basis.
Stop—For 30 minutes
We live in a country of motion. Ironically, the “go” mentality often hinders us from getting anything done. When swamped with 80 things to do, we half-accomplish some of the things on our list while zoning out about how we could be something else. Instead, take at least 30 minutes a day to do something completely enjoyable and unproductive. Whether its exercise, watching 30 minutes of your favorite show, or grabbing a bite with a friend, when you get back to work, stopping will leave you with a clear mind and readiness to continue your day.
Keep a Good Support System
Surround yourself with people who lift you up—who enjoy your company and accept your goals and responsibilities. It’s already difficult enough to stay grounded without toxic individuals in your life—there is no reason to be around people who don’t have your best interests at heart.